JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – What started as a typical Armada soccer game ended as a dream come true for a Jacksonville family.
A Navy mother, who has been on two back-to-back deployments since October 2016, surprised her two children, who were honorary captains for Wednesday night's game.
Ethan and Jolia Bower were happy and tearful when their mother, Petty Officer 2nd Class Christine Bower, showed up.
"I’m happy that she’s back and she’s been gone for two years -- it’s made me really sad," Jolia said. "I love her so much."
News4Jax spoke with Bower moments before she reunited with her children.
"I’ve been overseas on and off for the past two years, and I actually am about ready to deploy again," she said. "It’s my chance to say 'hello,' and they have no idea we’re here."
Bower said she knew her children, whom she hadn't seen since Christmas, would be overjoyed to see her, and they were.
"It’s pretty awesome to see my mom again. She’s been gone for a long time," Ethan said. "It’s just awesome."
The mother said she hopes the game will be a memory that they will all share forever.